Hilson Moran worked alongside the Energy Systems Catapult, Connected Places and Satellite Applications Catapults in Bengaluru on the Innovation for Clean Air programme.
The UK Catapult network was established by the UK government, and it links together world-leading organisations focused on driving innovation in specific industrial sectors. They bring together the best businesses, scientists and engineers to work collaboratively on late-stage research and development, transforming high potential innovative ideas from concept to reality.
Hilson Moran, alongside the UK Catapults visited a number of Indian cities including Bengaluru, Delhi and Kolkata, in 2018 and again in February 2019 as part of a scoping exercise to explore the possibility of future partnerships with India around clean air and electric vehicle innovations. As part of these trips the UK Catapults hosted and attended a number of stakeholder meetings and events, including the Future Mobility Conference in Bengaluru. Following the trips, we decided to focus on Bengaluru as the state and regional authorities are leading the way towards the electric vehicle transition in the city.
There were two main work streams within the programme: Air Quality innovation and Electric Vehicle & Integration Innovation.
Air Quality Innovation
Both Bengaluru and London share challenges and opportunities in relation to improving air quality –evidenced by the fact that the two cities are founding partners of the C40 Air Quality Network. The programme identified promising innovations which have the potential to improve air quality and provide an environment to test and refine the ideas so they can reach their full potential. The programme contributed to a more detailed localised map of the air quality of Bengaluru through the unique combination of satellite and sensor data, including both on-the-ground static and mobile data.
To enable the project to deliver the aspects highlighted under the air quality banner, we worked with and supported by both UK and Indian partners such as EarthSense, Enzen and Mapunity.
Electric Vehicle & Integration Innovation
The Electric Vehicle market has been recognised as a significant opportunity by the Indian government and various initiatives were already in place to push the market forward, for example the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME 2) scheme. To support the imperative, the programme worked with local stakeholders to identify relevant challenges like charging infrastructure, grid management and integrating renewable energy to ensure a sufficient, reliable and clean source power and facilitate opportunities for Indian and UK innovators to collaborate in developing long lasting relationships to address these challenges.
As part of the programme, we engaged with a number of high-profile stakeholders including the Government of Karnataka, academia (the Indian Institute of Science), private sector organisations, industry partners (including the Confederation of Indian Industry) and citizen groups. The programme benefitted from the support of a wide array of stakeholders including C40 Cities, the Shakti Foundation, Clean Air Platform, CSTEP, CiFos, WRI, Shell and the Government of Karnataka for both air quality and electric vehicle integration and we are proud to be collaborating with other frontrunners on this hugely important environmental subject. One of the biggest highlights for our team was presenting to the Deputy British High Commissioner at the launch of IfCA.
This UK-India joint initiative provided Indian and UK stakeholders with opportunities to test interventions related to air quality and electric vehicle integration to help support the transition to electric vehicles. The programme is mostly beneficial to the local SMEs in India looking to launch their products that improve the air quality as it gave them access to testing environment and funds. India is particularly affected by poor air quality with 22 of its cities being in the world’s top 30 worst cities for air pollution.